If you were me, where would you go?

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If you were me, where would you go?


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Old 2nd January 2013, 09:04 PM
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Default If you were me, where would you go?

Hey guys!

Been reading non stop through forums here today and getting a lot of good info, however I still find myself unsure of what to do.

I'm a single caucasian guy (30) from Canada, work online and travelling with a friend to the Philippines for 3-5 months depending how we like it. My flight is in one week.

I lived abroad before having lived for half a year in Thailand last year which I found incredibly safe and never had any issues. Although I evaded a couple pickpocketing attempts still didn't phase me and it comes with the territory IMO. (However I fully understand Pl isn't Thailand).

In any case I'm looking at Cebu, more recently Tagbilaran and Panglao area. I can have internet drops but I need to be sure I can do email and basic Web work for about 5 hours day at least 5 days per week.
I also want close proximity to beaches and preferably a less crowded area but night life can be found within a 15 to 20 min drive.

It would be good to have all essential amenities as well. Of course safer is better, I understand no matter where I go to be careful and aware. Although I'll pay for increased safety and everything else I mentioned above.

Budget is $500 usd month for rent ($1000 total between the two of us). I imagine food costs cannot rival the $500 to $600 month I currently pay so I'm not so concerned about that.

I've read a lot on here about Subic bay which I hadn't even heard of before. It looks quite nice, not sure it has the beach though.

I should also add I was living in Chiang Mai for a good portion of being in Thailand and would love to find something similar (if it exists!) In the Philippines with a beach = )

Any thoughts or recommendations are greatly appreciated.

All the best.
Ryan


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Old 3rd January 2013, 12:14 AM
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Ryan,

Subic has several beaches. Camayan Beach, Dungeree Beach, All Hands Beach, and SBMA beach. All but SBMA beach charge a 300p entrance fee. The first to me is the nicest. Subic is very widespread (It can take you 30 minutes (almost 10 miles) from Ocean Adventure to the Central Business District).

I would look up in the Cubi Point area for an apartment (Crown Peak?, etc.). There are a couple of places there that rent (I have seen advertisements as low as 6000p/mo=$150 USD for a 1 bedroom). There is also a bus there that shuttles people to different places around the freeport (Not sure how much that costs or the frequency/schedule). You might also want to consider getting a bicycle or a scooter. You could easily get a 2 bedroom duplex for less than $1000/mo. I would recommend Binictican or Cubi Point. Kalayaan still has break in issues (closest to Olongapo/SBMA boundary).

The internet here is spot on. Never had any issues in 1.5 years. There are 3 plans; 999p/mo (1MB), 1999p/mo (2MB) and 3000p/mo (3MB). These are DSL connections. You will also have to pay for a landline (603p/mo). I have the 3MB plan and get really good throughput. However, I have tested between here and the states and the best I could average was 768K. Still good enough to video calls, etc. I use an IP based phone (VOIP) for my US/International Calls and rarely have any packet droppage.

Right now is the peak of tourist season. The weather is great (85-88 degrees daytime and 70-75 at night) and very little rain (rained twice in the last month). So rentals will be in high demand. There is always a nice breeze here which makes it seem even cooler.

There is some nightlife in the Freeport (Pier 1) but the girlie bars are mostly in Barrio Barretto (about 30-35 minutes from Cubi. 20-25 minutes from Binictican).

Jon
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Old 3rd January 2013, 02:13 AM
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Thanks Jon!

That really helps clear things up about Subic! It's definitely a likely spot now. I get the impression it's a major Expat hub?

I don't suppose you have experience anywhere else in the Philippines to compare it to? If Subic truly is THAT much better than places like Cebu, Tagbilaran & Dumaguete then it will be a no brainer for me. My friend is still really caught up in going to Cebu and Bohol, but it's good to know of a high quality option.

Yeah I plan on getting a scooter where-ever I go. Internet sounds very solid as does the weather and beaches!

Have you thought about going elsewhere in the Philippines or is Subic perfect in your opinion for what you need?

Thanks,
Ryan

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Originally Posted by jon1 View Post
Ryan,

Subic has several beaches. Camayan Beach, Dungeree Beach, All Hands Beach, and SBMA beach. All but SBMA beach charge a 300p entrance fee. The first to me is the nicest. Subic is very widespread (It can take you 30 minutes (almost 10 miles) from Ocean Adventure to the Central Business District).

I would look up in the Cubi Point area for an apartment (Crown Peak?, etc.). There are a couple of places there that rent (I have seen advertisements as low as 6000p/mo=$150 USD for a 1 bedroom). There is also a bus there that shuttles people to different places around the freeport (Not sure how much that costs or the frequency/schedule). You might also want to consider getting a bicycle or a scooter. You could easily get a 2 bedroom duplex for less than $1000/mo. I would recommend Binictican or Cubi Point. Kalayaan still has break in issues (closest to Olongapo/SBMA boundary).

The internet here is spot on. Never had any issues in 1.5 years. There are 3 plans; 999p/mo (1MB), 1999p/mo (2MB) and 3000p/mo (3MB). These are DSL connections. You will also have to pay for a landline (603p/mo). I have the 3MB plan and get really good throughput. However, I have tested between here and the states and the best I could average was 768K. Still good enough to video calls, etc. I use an IP based phone (VOIP) for my US/International Calls and rarely have any packet droppage.

Right now is the peak of tourist season. The weather is great (85-88 degrees daytime and 70-75 at night) and very little rain (rained twice in the last month). So rentals will be in high demand. There is always a nice breeze here which makes it seem even cooler.

There is some nightlife in the Freeport (Pier 1) but the girlie bars are mostly in Barrio Barretto (about 30-35 minutes from Cubi. 20-25 minutes from Binictican).

Jon

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Old 3rd January 2013, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Beachy Futures View Post
Thanks Jon!

That really helps clear things up about Subic! It's definitely a likely spot now. I get the impression it's a major Expat hub?

I don't suppose you have experience anywhere else in the Philippines to compare it to? If Subic truly is THAT much better than places like Cebu, Tagbilaran & Dumaguete then it will be a no brainer for me. My friend is still really caught up in going to Cebu and Bohol, but it's good to know of a high quality option.

Yeah I plan on getting a scooter where-ever I go. Internet sounds very solid as does the weather and beaches!

Have you thought about going elsewhere in the Philippines or is Subic perfect in your opinion for what you need?

Thanks,
Ryan
My wife and I live less than an hour from Subic Bay, close to Angeles city and inland from the ocean.
I agree with Jon in that the entire Subic area is a fantastic place to call home-especially if you enjoy the beach. Also, other places away from Subic have truly sub-standard internet service. For me, if I were going to move, Subic would be the only place I would consider. Been here 10 years now and still love living in the country...
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Old 4th January 2013, 06:32 AM
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Thanks Gene

I've read several of yours and jon1s posts. Seems you guys are really big supporters of Subic over the other areas quite a bit. I guess I'm just having a hard time fully understanding exactly why this is. It's not that I doubt Subic is great, it's just that there also seem to be countless other (what seem to be) amazing/popular spots in the Philippines.

Just so I can understand though, if I were to sum it up

Elsewhere I'll have to put up with;
- Poor Internet
- Rolling Brown Outs
- Increased Crime Potential
- Less available amenities (in many cases)

That pretty much sums it up?

I've decided with my friend that we're going to check out Subic in a couple weeks after arriving in Manila and touring for a few days. Then we'll head out to Cebu, Bohol and I think have a good idea of the comparison first hand, which is what I think we really need.

More than anything is it the safety that Subic offers over other parts of the Philippines that makes it so alluring to you guys?

Many thanks for your advice as well!
Ryan


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene and Viol View Post
My wife and I live less than an hour from Subic Bay, close to Angeles city and inland from the ocean.
I agree with Jon in that the entire Subic area is a fantastic place to call home-especially if you enjoy the beach. Also, other places away from Subic have truly sub-standard internet service. For me, if I were going to move, Subic would be the only place I would consider. Been here 10 years now and still love living in the country...


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Old 4th January 2013, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Beachy Futures View Post
Thanks Gene

I've read several of yours and jon1s posts. Seems you guys are really big supporters of Subic over the other areas quite a bit. I guess I'm just having a hard time fully understanding exactly why this is. It's not that I doubt Subic is great, it's just that there also seem to be countless other (what seem to be) amazing/popular spots in the Philippines.

Just so I can understand though, if I were to sum it up

Elsewhere I'll have to put up with;
- Poor Internet
- Rolling Brown Outs
- Increased Crime Potential
- Less available amenities (in many cases)

That pretty much sums it up?

I've decided with my friend that we're going to check out Subic in a couple weeks after arriving in Manila and touring for a few days. Then we'll head out to Cebu, Bohol and I think have a good idea of the comparison first hand, which is what I think we really need.

More than anything is it the safety that Subic offers over other parts of the Philippines that makes it so alluring to you guys?

Many thanks for your advice as well!
Ryan
Yea, I think that just about covers the reasons for Subic. Infrastructure and safety issues for sure. It's kinda like living in Hawaii but at about 1/3 the cost. Many other places in the country that are great but Subic is the place I like going. There and Baguio City---but no beaches in Baguio.
Just stay away from the southern part of the country. It is a dangerous place by all accounts. Check your embassy website for travel warnings in the South...
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Old 4th January 2013, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Beachy Futures View Post
Thanks Gene

I've read several of yours and jon1s posts. Seems you guys are really big supporters of Subic over the other areas quite a bit. I guess I'm just having a hard time fully understanding exactly why this is. It's not that I doubt Subic is great, it's just that there also seem to be countless other (what seem to be) amazing/popular spots in the Philippines.

Just so I can understand though, if I were to sum it up

Elsewhere I'll have to put up with;
- Poor Internet
- Rolling Brown Outs
- Increased Crime Potential
- Less available amenities (in many cases)

That pretty much sums it up?

I've decided with my friend that we're going to check out Subic in a couple weeks after arriving in Manila and touring for a few days. Then we'll head out to Cebu, Bohol and I think have a good idea of the comparison first hand, which is what I think we really need.

More than anything is it the safety that Subic offers over other parts of the Philippines that makes it so alluring to you guys?

Many thanks for your advice as well!
Ryan
Ryan,

That sums it up pretty much.

The beaches in Subic are nice but not the pristine ones that you would envision at for example, El Nido Palawan and the like. I have traveled throughout the country and the remoteness of the provinces have their appeal. However, you will have to accept the issues with the power, security, internet outages/lag, etc. Then they may appeal to you.

Do not quote me on the rent I previously posted for Crown Peak. I only got that figure from a post board at the SCTEX Toll booth. I am sure that you and your friend can find a place between $500-1000/mo without a problem. Be prepared to pay for the full six months with a 2 month deposit. You also want to make sure that the lease has some kind of verbage detailing how quickly the landlord has to refund the deposit.

Also, check out this post I put out describing the leasing practices over here 12 Month Home Lease
This will give you an idea of what you will be running into before you get here.


I like the vantage point of Subic. It's perfect for launching off on little 2-3 day road trips, along with just shooting up to Clark and flying to wherever we wish to fly in country.

Jon

You will find that Subic is very close to living in Western conditions without the local hassles (trikes, jeepneys, beggars). Also, if you want to interact, the locals are a 15 minute drive away and you can get your fill of the culture.

Jon
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Old 6th January 2013, 08:17 AM
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Thanks Guys!

Appreciate the insights. I'm closing in on leaving (less than 4 days now).

A few last questions.

I read some things online that gave Subic bay the moniker sludge or **** river? Because there's a constant flow of waste into the bay apparently? Is there any truth to this? Or is there just a certain area you don't swim in but there's a fresh area further away?

If I only wanted to stay initially for 1-2 months do you still think I could find something affordable in my price range, or is everyone going to expect a 6 month minimum? I just know when I was travelling through Thailand it was fairly easy to find month to month, not sure if it's the same in the Philippines...

Lastly, are there health stores like we have in North America in the Philippines? Specifically in Subic Bay?

Many thanks again!
Ryan

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Old 6th January 2013, 09:04 AM
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Thanks Guys!

Appreciate the insights. I'm closing in on leaving (less than 4 days now).

A few last questions.

I read some things online that gave Subic bay the moniker sludge or **** river? Because there's a constant flow of waste into the bay apparently? Is there any truth to this? Or is there just a certain area you don't swim in but there's a fresh area further away?

If I only wanted to stay initially for 1-2 months do you still think I could find something affordable in my price range, or is everyone going to expect a 6 month minimum? I just know when I was travelling through Thailand it was fairly easy to find month to month, not sure if it's the same in the Philippines...

Lastly, are there health stores like we have in North America in the Philippines? Specifically in Subic Bay?

Many thanks again!
Ryan
Ryan,

You can swim at the beaches without worry about sludge. The bay is pretty clean. They place that they refer to as **** river is pretty much filled in with silt (maybe 1' deep at high tide). I am sure that there is human waste being fed into the water basin somehow (most likely from squatters areas in Olongapo and Barrio Barretto). I can't speak to the water sanitation system outside of the Freeport. I believe that the Freeport is still using the infrastructure that they inherited from the USN. There has been very little (if any) rain as it is mid-dry season now. That would also help keep the waters clear from the silt runoff. One thing to worry about right now is jellyfish. They have started to drift into the bay and I know that places like Camayan are trying their best to keep the beach clear of them and have prepared their staff for immediate treatment. I am not sure which variety is out there but it appears to be a non-lethal, pesky type that gives a nasty little sting (could be serious if you were allergic to the sting).

I do know that the diving is supposed to be pretty good here. There are a bunch of wrecks in the bay to dive on, some even pre-WWII. The only active Dive shop that I am aware of is Johan's in Baloy (next to Barrio Barretto). Vasco's has shut their dive shop down for now (not sure if it will reopen in the future).

As far as short term (less than 6 months), you might want to look at Subic Homes (Long Term Lease | Subic Homes) and maybe you can negotiate something. They do weekend/weekly rates and short/long term leases. Naturally the weekend/weekly rates can be pricey. The good news is the peak of the season is on the down slide. You should also look at the Crown Peak/Cubi area. There are some condotels in the Central Business District near the boardwalk. I am not sure if they do short-term rentals or not.

I have not seen any health stores here in the Subic Bay area. Since you are already planning on hanging out initially in Manila, I would look there and buy what you need (GNC Live Well Philippines - Store Locator) if you can't bring with you what you require. When it comes to products from the States/North America, expect a 20-25% price markup on what you would pay at home. And if you are into something specific, you may not be able to find what you use, even in Manila.

I recommend that you bring some OTC meds with you. Loperamide (the local dosage is half what we are used to), Antihistamine, and also check on any shots that you can get (Yellow fever, Tetanus, etc.). Bring some really good sunscreen too (SPF50).

Jon

PS I forgot to mention that in Cubi/Binictican they are wired for 110v/220v so that you could use your 110v devices. You will not find that anywhere else in-country
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Old 6th January 2013, 09:44 AM
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Awesome stuff! Thanks Jon that really helps clear things up!

My only concern now is that the internet will cut it while travelling. I'm recalling how my 6mb connection in Chiang Mai felt slow compared to what I've enjoyed here in Canada the last few months I'll know soon enough!

Well noted on the supplements/medication! Getting that all sorted out over the next couple days. I guess it isn't like Thailand with a Pharmacy every 10 feet it seems.

I actually learned the hard way in Thailand with an order about $550 USD that was stopped at customs and after at least 20+ hours of wasted effort on it trying to get it, I had to let it go and it was "destroyed". Basically the bribe they wanted to let it pass was practically the cost of re-ordering. It was either that or get evidence of at least 5 people who were splitting the order, as of course it's impossible for one person to want 12 different items from an online health store without intent to re-sell... Ugh lol! Explaining I was buying in bulk in one shipment to last the next 3 months wasn't good enough apparently.

I don't expect it to be the same over in the Philippines but in any case I've learned if I buy ANYTHING overseas I buy in small amounts air parcels and not to use a courier ever unless I want trouble.

So ironic, Jelly Fish were my one and only real concern about swimming there, guess it's like anywhere else, just keep aware of your surroundings and you'll be ok. Sounds like there's a lot to do in any case.

Oh and do people rent cars over there? Or is it basically bikes or taking those Jeepneys around. Just curious how the transportation works? I LOVED driving the scooters around in Thailand.

Great to hear about the 110v! I struggled for months in Thailand to find a converter for 220v to 120v/110v before I gave up. I destroyed a couple electronics in the process, came to the conclusion, if I want an electric shaver that works I'll need to buy one over there.
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